On June 11, Rosh Pinah Chavurah of the Rivertowns, an independent Jewish congregation, will pass an unusual milestone, celebrating its 20th anniversary with a gala dinner dance. The word chavurah comes from Hebrew chaver, meaning ‘friend,’ and Rosh Pinah began in 2003 when a group of friends in the Rivertowns decided to come together for worship, celebration, and learning.
Twenty years later, Rosh Pinah is still going strong. It has more than 125 members from throughout Southern Westchester, many of whom attend weekly member-led, egalitarian Conservative Shabbat services on Saturday mornings in space generously provided by Temple Beth Shalom in Hastings-on-Hudson. The chavurah is best known locally for its member-led High Holiday services, which are open to the public and free of charge. The group celebrates other Jewish holidays and lifecycle events as well, year-round.
“We are an unusual chavurah in many respects,” says Rosh Pinah president Boris Rubinstein, a Mexico City-born child psychiatrist. “First and foremost, few chavurot last for decades. That’s why we are so excited to be turning twenty. Second, our chavurah does more than worship together. We offer social and educational activities such as an abundant and congenial weekly kiddush luncheon, study groups, a book club, and a Rosh Chodesh women’s group. Finally, although we have a suggested amount for annual dues, we leave this to each member’s discretion. This makes us an affordable, adult alternative to a traditional synagogue.”